The new (NIMBY) Trump

In the upcoming presidential election, the issues really don’t matter at all. Nobody in their right mind believes a thing that Trump says, so it’s all guesswork as to what he will do in office. And even if I agreed with Trump 100% on “the issues” (I don’t) I’d still vote against him because he’s obviously unfit to serve.

But for the sake of argument, let’s think about the race as if the issues did matter. What do you notice? It turns out that Trump’s rhetoric has changed radically since he was first elected in 2016. At that time he was a pro-business conservative that likes to build things. Today, he’s a radical NIMBY whale hugger who opposes almost every project you can imagine:

1. He opposes the construction of apartment buildings in the suburbs.

2. He opposes solar power facilities.

3. And now he wants to destroy America’s booming offshore wind industry because it supposedly kills whales (it doesn’t.)

Donald Trump vowed to issue an executive order targeting offshore wind development if he wins a second term as president, making his most explicit threat yet toward the growing industry. . . .

“We are going to make sure that that ends on day one,” he said. “I’m going to write it out in an executive order.” . . .

Developers say offshore wind is set to deliver big economic dividends — and potentially $25 billion in annual output — throughout the US, as it drives demand for specialty steel, new ships and other equipment. The same day Trump was speaking in New Jersey, a new American-built boat to service US offshore wind farms was christened in New Orleans.

4. He also wants to deport illegal migrants, who are an important part of our construction labor force.

How did Trump go from being a developer who likes putting up multifamily buildings and favors more infrastructure to a radical NIMBY environmentalist who opposes apartments and infrastructure? I suspect he is following his audience. In 2012, he was pro-immigration, but when he found out that his supporters hated immigration he switched his position. I suspect that Trump is discovering that many of his supporters are suburban NIMBYs who hate apartment buildings, wind farms and solar panels. (In the UK, the Conservatives have become the NIMBY party for similar reasons.)

Here’s something to think about. Back when Elon Musk was a moderate Democrat, he built a fantastically successful electric car company. Then for essentially unrelated reasons Musk became a far-right Republican. Now suppose that his firm made some other product, such as computer software. Suppose that he had no financial interest in EVs. Does anyone seriously doubt that in that case Musk would be on Twitter almost every single day trashing electric cars, complaining about government subsidies, and calling climate change a hoax? Those are the sort of people he now associates with on Twitter.

But in one of histories greatest ironies, Musk is stuck producing a product that primarily appeals to liberal environmentalists, even as he shifts further and further to the right. Decades from now, someone will write Musk’s biography. And it will be one of the strangest stories ever told. Almost as strange as the story of a big city developer who became a NIMBY to please his fans.



20 Responses to “The new (NIMBY) Trump”

  1. Gravatar of Bobster Bobster
    27. May 2024 at 09:19

    We really don’t need to put apartments in all single family suburban neighborhoods.

    Even Houston doesn’t mandate that. They allow neighborhoods to deed restrict (if they wish) while having zero zoning anywhere else

    The insistence of YIMBY left to push for apartments in sfh is going to backfire when there is so much other low hanging fruit

    Zoning isn’t even the binding constraint in California. It’s rent control, inclusionary zoning, transfer taxes and numerous other mandates that raise rents and make new development infeasible.

  2. Gravatar of Richard A. Richard A.
    27. May 2024 at 09:56

    Is it difficult to understand that right wing anti-solarites are pushing their anti solar (and anti green energy) agenda in order to protect the fossil fuel industry?

  3. Gravatar of Will Will
    27. May 2024 at 13:21

    A year ago he said he wanted the death penalty for drug dealers. On Saturday he said he wanted Ross Ulbricht, a guy who created a drug trafficking website, to be freed. He will lie about both anything and the opposite of anything as it suits him.

  4. Gravatar of Tacticus Tacticus
    27. May 2024 at 14:11

    ‘And even if I agreed with Trump 100% on “the issues” (I don’t) I’d still vote against him because he’s obviously unfit to serve.’

    Whenever I think about this issue, I think of that P.J. O’Rourke quote in 2016 about how Clinton was wrong about absolutely everything, but wrong within normal parameters.

  5. Gravatar of Sara Sara
    27. May 2024 at 19:13

    Nobody in their “right mind” believes anything he says. In other words, if you believe something he says than you’re insane.

    Yet, Sumner believes (based on his statements) that he’s Adolf Hitler and Napolean, and then tells us he will destroy “democracy” and kill uighers. If you believe in those statements, then are you not insane? Because you just told us if you believe anything he says you don’t have a “right mind”.

    In other words, how can one say that they know someone will “destroy democracy” be Adolf Hitler and Napolean, and kill Uighers, and at the same time say they don’t know what a person is going to do because it’s all “guesswork”.

    It’s like the people (also Sumner), who tell us that Russia is going to take over Europe; that Putin is a crazed lunatic who desires nothing more in life than to destroy the west, yet at the same time tell us that Putin’s army is so pathetic that he cannot hold onto one city in Ukraine.

    I mean, the inconsistency in logic is truly astounding. You cannot have it both ways.

  6. Gravatar of ssumner ssumner
    27. May 2024 at 19:43

    Bobster, You said:

    “Zoning isn’t even the binding constraint in California”

    Yes, it’s a huge constraint. But rent control is also bad, as you say.

    Nobody is “forcing” apartments into suburbia. We used to build them there because there was lots of demand for them. There still is, but suburbs passed laws banning them.

  7. Gravatar of J Mann J Mann
    28. May 2024 at 10:26

    I think that was always Trump’s method. Because all of his other values are so much lower than his desire for self-aggrandizement, he’s willing to take on any principle that appeals to the voters.

    In his first win, it was immigration, protectionism, and locking up Hillary, and to a lesser extent religious freedom for Christians. This time, he’s an abortion moderate, and maybe an anti-vaxxer, (despite also taking credit for the Covid vaccine!).

    His biggest weakness is that his dominant value is himself, so he spends a lot of time talking about judges who are mean to him instead of about immigration or the economy or whatever.

  8. Gravatar of Edward Edward
    29. May 2024 at 04:55

    Only a radical leftist would call a moderate like Elon Musk or Jordan Peterson “far-right.” Soon, he’ll tell us Stephen Pinker is “hard-right.”

    Joe Biden had a shower with his 11 year old daughter, and, according to her diary, groped her.

    His son, Hunter, is a bonafide crackhead that sat on the board of Burisma and founded a biotechnology hedge fund, yet, oddly, the hairy fat man has no expertise in oil, biology, finance or chemistry. How did he get the job?

    Don’t ask, says our supreme leader Scott Sumner. Because that’s just “far-right” nonsense. It never happened. The photos and emails are all fake. All Putin puppet propaganda. And Elon is secretly coordinating with Putin. Remember, Trump = Bad. Biden = good. It’s that simple. No nuance needed.

    Biden’s brother received government contracts in Saudi Arabia. Shall we guess how he got those contract? No, let’s not guess because it will anger our supreme leader Scott Sumner.

    Biden’s current Department of Homeland Security Advisor stated that “the first amendment was unfortunate” and proposed a “disinformation unit” to circumvent the first amendment.

    But that’s normal, right? We don’t need to talk about that. Hell, let’s just get rid of the entire bill of rights and the electoral college because it’s all “hard-right”. Better yet, let’s do what our Supreme leader Scott Sumner tell us to do. Genuflect minions!

    Sumner has mentioned in the past that he yearns for America to be more like the European Union (more dicatorial). The European Union just approved “rapid response teams” to combat what they call “misinformation” which is, of course, anyone who disagrees with the state.

    But don’t mention that, says Sumner. Don’t you dare. Because that’s not important. Rapid response teams harrassing people for their opinions is very normal. That’s what normal countries do. Don’t be “hard-right.” Do as your told.

    And that’s not all, folks.

    NATO, a military organization with a history of aggression is 1000 kilometers closer to Russia than it was in the 90’s, despite promises “not to move an inch.”

    But we shouldn’t mention that either, because in Sumner’s universe we’re angels and Russia is evil. No nuance needed. It’s just that simple. Russia = bad. Now please run as fast as possible from anyone named Anastasia, because Anastasia = Russia and Russia = bad.

    And then say ten hail mary’s to your knew Supreme Leader Scott Sumner.

    I don’t know about you, but I would like another serving of Scott’s low I.Q. please, because I must say it’s quite entertaining.

  9. Gravatar of dtoh dtoh
    30. May 2024 at 16:00

    Curious on what issues you think Musk has change his views?

  10. Gravatar of ssumner ssumner
    31. May 2024 at 06:04

    dtoh, I don’t know that he has changed his views on many “issues”. What’s changed is that he now associates with the far right, frequently retweeting stupid and/or offensive tweets from nutty right wing “edgelords”. He’s now far right in a “tribal” sense.

    BTW, I’m a huge fan of Musk as a businessman. But as a person? Yikes, he needs to grow up. He has the maturity of an eighth grade bully.

  11. Gravatar of dtoh dtoh
    31. May 2024 at 18:54

    Come on. That’s just a vague wishy-washy piece of mush as answer. The only tribal movement going on here is the left’s concerted vilification of Musk because he’s taken away their ability to censor conservative speech on Twitter.

  12. Gravatar of ssumner ssumner
    1. June 2024 at 07:11

    dtoh, You obviously don’t follow Musk on twitter. Check out his tweets—some are pretty appalling. Fox News level of offensiveness combined with stupidity. Your “wishy-washy” complaint doesn’t change that fact.

    BTW, I’m fine with the fact that Twitter is now full of Nazis. I’m a free speech proponent.

  13. Gravatar of Tacticus Tacticus
    1. June 2024 at 10:36

    Musk is very clearly far-right when it comes to tribal identification. As Scott said, just look at his Twitter.

    I think he’s a great salesman, but I’m not so sure about being a great businessman. Too much ego, not enough self-control.

  14. Gravatar of dtoh dtoh
    1. June 2024 at 17:21

    I do read his tweets. Which one(s) are you referring to. Or are you just relying on the progressive media narrative that labeled his tweet about the the Jewish/progressive schism as “anti-Semitic.”

  15. Gravatar of ssumner ssumner
    3. June 2024 at 16:22

    dtoh, He has dozens of offensive tweets. I’m not going to waste time searching them. I recall one where he called a guy a pedophile. Is that OK? How about when he said the Dems would never allow Sam Bankman-Fried to be convicted? Is that OK? There are dozens, too many to remember. His twitter feed is a disgusting sewer of filth.

    Do you defend anti-semitic tweets that he has now apologized for, and admitted were offensive?

  16. Gravatar of dtoh dtoh
    3. June 2024 at 18:38

    Which tweet was anti-Semitic. Did you actually read it, or did do you just read the NYT’s characterization of it as anti-Semitic.

  17. Gravatar of ssumner ssumner
    5. June 2024 at 09:37

    dtoh, Google the one he apologized for. He basically retweeted a Nazi, in an approving way.

    But it’s not just one thing, his tweets are frequently stupid and offensive. Which is inexcusable given that he’s much smarter than me.

  18. Gravatar of dtoh dtoh
    7. June 2024 at 12:01

    Scott read the tweet and stop believing everything you read in the NYT.

  19. Gravatar of ssumner ssumner
    7. June 2024 at 13:11

    I do read his tweets, that’s why I know they are often stupid and offensive. Elon Musk and I happen to think one of his tweets was anti-semitic, you are free to disagree with us.

  20. Gravatar of dtoh dtoh
    8. June 2024 at 07:53

    That’s simply not true. Musk apologized for the tweet, but he did not say, admit or agree that it was anti-Semitic, and….any objective intelligent person who actually read the tweet would not characterize it as anti-Semitic.

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